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“Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the nation.”
Childhood is the most innocent phase in human life. It is that stage of life when the human foundations are laid for a successful adult life. The problem of child labour continues to pose a challenge before the nation. Government has been taking various pro-active measures to tackle this problem.
However, considering the magnitude and extent of the problem and that it is essentially a socio-economic problem inextricably linked to poverty and illiteracy, it requires concerted efforts from all sections of the society to resolve the problem.
The two primary reasons for the ever-growing social malice of child labor are poverty and lack of education.
Children are employed because it is easy to exploit them. Poverty is generally the first answer for why children work at inappropriate jobs for their ages. Poverty is one of the main reasons behind this phenomenon. The unrelenting poverty forces the parents to push their young children in all forms of hazardous occupations. Child labor is a source of income for poor families.
Lack of education is another factor which increases the child labour.Parents unwilling to send their children to schools but send them to work as a source of income to the family.
Parents who belong to the poor families are unaware about the value of education as well as the benefits provided by the government for child education.
Indeed they are also being made aware of the child rights and benefits of their child being educated by the government programs and the media.
But there are other reasons as well such as population explosion, cheap labour and abject poverty in rural areas.
Child workers are engaged primarily in agriculture and allied activities in rural areas and in a variety of industries and informal sector activities in the urban areas.
Government Initiatives to eradicate child labour:
Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act was enacted in 1986.
National Policy on Child Labour was formulated in 1987.
A Legislative Action Plan for strict enforcement of Child Labour Act and other labour laws to ensure that children are not employed in hazardous employments, and that the working conditions of children working in non-hazardous areas are regulated in accordance with the provisions of the Child Labour Act.
National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme was launched in 1988.
The Scheme includes running of special schools for child labour withdrawn from work. In the special schools, these children are provided formal/non-formal education along with vocational training, supplementary nutrition and regular health checkups so as to prepare them to join regular mainstream schools.
The government has accordingly been taking proactive steps to tackle this problem through strict enforcement of legislative provisions along with simultaneous rehabilitative measures. Officials have been conducting regular inspections and raids to detect cases of violations.